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"Drop the Rock"

Back in the late eighties I was involved in a small UCC church in western Massachusetts. My children were elementary school age. My daughter had survived her first five years of life and we lived day to day monitoring her health, imagining the worst and hoping for the best. I was quoted in a local newspaper featuring us in an article on organ donor awareness month. My quote basically said “we live under a black cloud always following us around” referring to when the next shoe drops and her liver fails. My anxiety was controlled by medication. My marriage was failing and I was facing divorce.

This light I found, namely this small church, was sort of a gospel church in UCC style. The minister Carlos Anderson was partnered with the music director, two men in love, in passion for life and devoted to each other. They represented freedom to me in the way they honored and respected each other and their congregation.

I’m remembering a specific sermon one Sunday that impacts me to this day. The title of Carlos’ sermon was “Drop the Rock.” The gist of the message was to realize the rocks we hold in our armpits, the thoughts and beliefs that hold us back, that limit self-acceptance. As the sermon was delivered, the rocks became real jagged lumps under my armpits, secured there by the weight of my arm. Letting the rock go could be as simple as a choice of easing up on myself and lifting my arm.

I grew up with a belief in punishment for being bad and reward for being good - the strict father model. I adopted this model by becoming the strict father, judging and punishing my behavior. This punishing model resided in my head and monitored me 24/7. I hurt myself by denying, ignoring and abandoning my needs. At one point I chose to find poison ivy and rub it on my arms and legs unaware how desperately I needed to acknowledge my pain. I was in my early teens. I was in such deep inner pain, creating outer pain helped justify my suffering. I developed phobias, anxieties, and other injurious behavior.

When my children were born, starting in 1979 and then in 1981, they became my focus on loving an innocent being. I wasn’t going to allow such innocence to be hurt as I was. I learned to give love to a vulnerable, trusting, little baby and I believe each time I felt this deep, passionate love for my child, the cracks started opening wider allowing me to feel. In 1981 when my second daughter was diagnosed with a terminal illness, I had completely entered the classroom of learning to honor myself. I had no choice but to survive because I had my children. They are my teachers in my classroom called life. They blessed me then with their arrival and still to this day they both bless me.

What rocks are you holding in your armpits? What core beliefs make up your story of who you are. When I found Dr. Susan Jeffers’ book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, she wrote four words that knocked me upside the head. “Believe that you count.” The thought was outrageous at first. See how it fits on you.


  • Thinking about believing you count. Realized I had a 'rock' that I want to go away. Look at these mornings as what do I look at today

  • Rock is a great metaphor

  • I am in contracted place. Want to continue contracting. 6th week I've not been touched. Going to have a parking lot dinner, urge is to not go

  • It is what it is. Honoring where we are

  • Tears are always welcome

  • This was an uplifting share. The two men were messengers of hope

  • This morning I prayed for you all and for self. Prayer is a way of letting go to my higher power, a light source. Also, I have prayers for intentions not expressed

  • Have slept separately from partner, realizing the ones who you love most can kill you

  • Worry for all of us, for humanity in general

  • Send a blessing with your worries so that it's an energy that is useful

  • When I was going through a divorce, therapist told me to give myself the love I wanted from someone. So I took myself out on a date, and felt illegal and selfish, but it was freeing

  • Conscious of Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway for many years. Learned from Louise Hay acronyms for FEAR: face everything and recover, f*** everything and run, false evidence appearing real. Turn fear into faith. Terror I lived with in the past is like a ghost that follows me. I have choice, turn toward it or away from it.

  • Doing zoom by audio to relate to voices, energetically

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